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Alfred Newman's "Certain Smile" & Williams' "E.T"


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#1 filmmusic

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Posted 12 November 2011 - 02:22 PM

I was just searching my archives of some online list that is now dead (FILMUS-L archives) and I saw that someone has mentioned that Williams himself claimed that he was inspired for his E.T. by Newman's "A Certain Smile" score.
The person continued that that's no surprise since Williams worked as orchestrator and performer in Certain Smile.
(I also found in the net in a review of the recent lalaland cd, that the reviewer said the central Dominique theme served as the basis for the E.t. theme).

Does anyone have more information or references for this 2 matters?
1) williams' claim
2) the fact that he was an orchestrator in the movie (I don't find it mentioned in the other works section in Jwfan main page)

Also, maybe someone has the liner notes of the LAlaland Cd? Does it mention anything there again about both these matters?
May the Fourth be with us and A NEW HOPE for the original trilogy on Bluray!

#2 Miguel Andrade

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Posted 12 November 2011 - 04:53 PM

Certain Smile dates from 1958. Williams arrived back in Hollywood just the previous year, and was by that time one of the top studio pianists. If he orchestrated something on that one, he probably was only one of the orchestrators, or so I would guess.
But I never really heard anything about Williams working on that film, and in all honesty, never heard the score either.
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#3 filmmusic

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Posted 12 November 2011 - 05:50 PM

well, maybe the liner notes of the lalaland 2cd enlighten us. But I don't want to buy the cd just for that.
Maybe I'll contact the person that wrote them in facebook.
Or if anyone has them, please let us know if they mention anything about Williams.
May the Fourth be with us and A NEW HOPE for the original trilogy on Bluray!

#4 MSM

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Posted 12 November 2011 - 06:07 PM

so which theme is it? the movie is on youtube, but so far i haven't found the exact theme. the score is btw wonderfully orchestrated, really would like to know if JW worked on it.

I think this must be Dominique's theme (at 5:51). It doesn't sound like ET at all, however:


Btw the song in the beginning is very nice as well.

#5 filmmusic

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Posted 12 November 2011 - 06:30 PM

No, this isn't it.
You will recognise it when you'll hear it.
E.t. begins with an upward 5th and goes down, this starts with an 8ve and goes down in a similar way to the E.T. theme..
May the Fourth be with us and A NEW HOPE for the original trilogy on Bluray!

#6 MSM

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Posted 12 November 2011 - 06:32 PM

No, this isn't it.
You will recognise it when you'll hear it.
E.t. begins with an upward 5th and goes down, this starts with an 8ve and goes down in a similar way to the E.T. theme..


Could you post any clips, videos or something??

#7 filmmusic

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Posted 12 November 2011 - 06:40 PM

If I find it in the movie I'll let you know,, ;)

edit: here it is, at 5.00''
(well, yes it's very distantly related but I don't know why the fuss about. I mean why they refer to it as being the basis for E.T. and such)

May the Fourth be with us and A NEW HOPE for the original trilogy on Bluray!

#8 MSM

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Posted 12 November 2011 - 06:42 PM

Yes I can hear it, nice, it's a wonderful theme. So this is JW's orchestration! :)

It is also peculiar that JW won a lawsuit against a songwriter who claimed that JW took his ET theme from his song called 'Joy'. JW actually played the piano on that recording. So that wasn't even an inspiration?

#9 filmmusic

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Posted 12 November 2011 - 06:45 PM

well, we don't know yet.. Just some guy said it, but we have to see official record or something..

and yes Miguel, I forgot to mention that that guy referred to him as additional orchestrator.
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#10 Thor

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Posted 12 November 2011 - 07:55 PM

Yes I can hear it, nice, it's a wonderful theme. So this is JW's orchestration! :)

It is also peculiar that JW won a lawsuit against a songwriter who claimed that JW took his ET theme from his song called 'Joy'. JW actually played the piano on that recording. So that wasn't even an inspiration?


Yes, it was Les Baxter who claimed that, if memory serves. I heard the clip awhile back, but can't remember much of it now. I remember not thinking it was very alike, though. Just a coincidence type thing.

#11 king mark

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Posted 13 November 2011 - 02:35 AM

Williams is a hack!

#12 Moloko

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Posted 13 November 2011 - 09:33 AM

I do not think that Williams was performing on Certain Smile as a session musician as the score was recorded in Munich, Germany in July 1958 during AFM strike. Although there are two cues ("A Certain Smile" [vocal version] and "The Dance Orchestra") which were recorded in LA. Unfortunately the liner notes doesn't offer a musicians list.
Regarding the orchestrations the Lalaland release does not mention Williams as orchestrator. Neither is Edward B. Powell credited, Newman's main orchestrator during his tenure at Fox.

#13 filmmusic

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Posted 13 November 2011 - 10:24 AM

Oh, so you have the complete liner notes Moloko?
Thanks for the info..
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#14 Moloko

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Posted 13 November 2011 - 12:23 PM

Yes, I bought the CD back when it was released.

The score was also not conducted by Newman himself in Munich (he was probably busy with other films) but by Fox's session pianist and conductor Urban Thielmann.

But it's still possible that Williams co-orchestrated some cues for Newman and was present at the LA source music sessions. As I said above there are no orchestrator credits on the Lalaland release.

#15 MSM

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Posted 14 November 2011 - 10:10 PM

It annoys me that we cannot get to know these things. Why didn't they just credit the people who earned it that time?

#16 Jay

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Posted 23 November 2011 - 08:53 PM

I asked MV if he could look into this and he replied:

Nothing on a Certain Smile except he may have been the piano player on the song since that was recorded here in LA. The score was done in Germany and there is no record of him going there.


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#17 filmmusic

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Posted 23 November 2011 - 08:59 PM

oh, thank you for the info! ;)
May the Fourth be with us and A NEW HOPE for the original trilogy on Bluray!

#18 MSM

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Posted 24 November 2011 - 02:37 PM

I asked MV if he could look into this and he replied:

Nothing on a Certain Smile except he may have been the piano player on the song since that was recorded here in LA. The score was done in Germany and there is no record of him going there.


What about flight schedules and passenger lists?

#19 Stefancos

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Posted 24 November 2011 - 03:41 PM

From the 50's? Im sure they were not kept in those days.

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